The vicissitudes of ‘radical centrism’: The case of Agnes Heller, radical centrist avant la lettre

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Abstract

This paper seeks to interrogate the concept of ‘radical centrism’, which has recently achieved prominence in being adopted by Tony Blair as the ‘ideology’ of New Labour. We contend that the core of radical centrism is the desire to transcend the categories of traditional ideological discourse and develop a consensual meta‐ideology that could be ‘all things to all men and women’. In an attempt to establish what such a project might entail we turn to the work of Agnes Heller, whose definition of her own project bears similarities to that of New Labour. We find, however, that the combination of deontological perfectionism, radical reformism and, latterly, the development of a postmodern ‘ethics of responsibility’, whilst remaining in tune with the desire to develop such a position, demonstrates the at least potentially anti‐political character of the undertaking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147
Number of pages167
JournalJournal of Political Ideologies
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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